Restaurant group is brewing up its own pet project.
The minds behind Tail Chaser Dog Brew hope their target audience laps up their latest business venture—one 12-oz. can at a time. The clean-ingredient brew features beef or chicken bone broth that can be added to dog food to enhance flavor or poured into water bowls for a low-calorie, low-sodium beverage.
Ingredients include beef or chicken bones and water (broth), carrots, cabbage, rice, malt and thyme. “It’s a really clean label,” says Edina’s Luke Derheim, one of the owners behind the brand, along with Minnetonka’s David Benowitz.
Other Tail Chaser owners include John Mihajlov (Wayzata High School graduate), who co-owns Finnegan’s Brew Co. in Minneapolis along with Jacquie Berglund, Finnegan’s founder and co-owner. The brew is made at and distributed out of Finnegan’s.
Is Tail Chaser a novelty item? Is the product only feeding into pet owners’ penchant for humanizing their pets, e.g., clothing for fashion sake? The answer is: No, if one considers the shelf-stable ingredients. Derheim explains that the bone broths, rice and cabbage aid in dogs’ digestion. Thyme helps improve pet breath odor. The water, while obviously assisting with hydration, can aid dogs with food texture concerns (It happens.) or older pets, suffering from tender dental issues. As a food topper, the brew softens dry dog food, making chewing easier.
Derheim and Benowitz are also part of the ownership team of Craft & Crew Hospitality (Dukes’s on 7, Minnetonka; The Bar Draft House in Hastings; The Block Food + Drink, St. Louis Park; The Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar in Minneapolis; Pub 819, Hopkins; and Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, Minneapolis). Their restaurant experience is important to the story of how Tail Chaser got its start. “We really thought there was a market for it,” Derheim says. “We see how much people spend on their pets at our restaurants.”
Each of the restaurants has tapped into the market with dog-friendly, heated Pawtios and menus for the canines to enjoy while their two-legged friends enjoy meals and beverages off another menu. And if you doubt the success of a menu that features “dogs drink free Tuesdays” and eight menu items, the 100,000th meal was served to some lucky “good boy or gal” in 2022 after seven years of offering a menu that caters to the canine set. “Our dog food sales on our Pawtios have also increased every year since we launched our dog menu in 2016,” Benowitz says. “We know there is a target market, and people love to spoil their dogs.”
Knowing there is a market for a product isn’t enough to garner success in the retail game—there are other important ingredients. “… A lot of planning and conversations went into launching this product. It takes a dedicated team to get a dog product like Tail Chaser to have the visibility we are seeing now,” Benowitz says. “We had many people at the beginning tell us not to launch this product or that it wouldn’t work. However, we kept pursuing aggressively and meeting with everyone we could in the pet space and have now found some great partners. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so the stress levels for the most part have been relatively low.”
Where to Buy
Tail Chaser is available online ($17.99/eight pack) and locally at Chuck & Don’s, Cub and Lunds & Byerlys, and more sites are in the offing ($10.99/four pack). Craft & Crew venues sell it for $4/can. Product is also available in North Dakota and Wisconsin.
“We think long term it will continue to grow in this market and other states, as well,” Derheim says. “Feedback has been really positive since we launched in 2022. We have regulars who come in with their dogs now and purchase Tail Chaser weekly,” Benowitz says.